“THE club needs to wear the punishment.”
Former Cronulla Sharks halfback and current Orange CYMS captain-coach Mick Sullivan pulled no punches after the NRL handed down huge Sharks’ punishments yesterday.
NRL chief executive David Smith hit the Sharks with a one million dollar fine, $400 000 suspended, and stood down coach Shane Flanagan for 12 months over the club’s part in the recent supplement scandal.
In much the same way controversy-plagued AFL club Essendon stood by coach James Hird, Cronulla has indicated it will support Flanagan.
Former Sharks head of strength and conditioning Trent Elkin, now at Parramatta, was also given a two year ban.
The punishments were widely anticipated, and Sullivan said the club needs to accept the sanction.
“The players were ill informed, the club needs to take the slap on the wrist,” he said.
“From experience, I can say as a player you put a certain level of trust in the club you play for. If the club has said it is okay to take, then I would think most players would take it. It is a fairly hefty slap on the wrist, but I think it would be much more detrimental to a club like Cronulla, who aren’t that financial, to pass the brunt onto the players.
“Take someone like Paul Gallen as an example. He has done so much hard work, as did all the Cronulla players last year, and this could potentially end their careers.
“I think we’ll see a pretty non-existent year for the Sharks next year, despite any advantage they may have gained well and truly being worn off by now.”
Sullivan conceded the problem would never go away, saying the lines were blurred with this type of supplement.
“From what I’ve read these peptides are still legal on the street,” he said.
“Any Joe Bloggs can take them normally, but ASADA made them illegal in sport. The lines are blurred a bit.”
Sullivan joked off any notion of untoward happenings during his stint.
“We had a dietician we saw at Cronulla that was about it,” he laughed.
“The club never had the money to invest in all the proteins, and multi-vitamins. I think there was a big, general tub of protein you could take if you wanted it, that was it.”